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County’s 2021 budget proposal does not raise taxes

Lycoming County commissioners are unveiling a no-tax-hike spending plan for next year.

The budget includes a $23 million deficit due to a number of projects that have been pushed back to 2021. But county officials indicated that the deficit is not the concern it may appear to be.

“We are working on projects we have to show expenses for,” Beth Johnston, county fiscal services director, said.

Commissioners said they did not want to push a tax increase on property owners. Johnston noted that increasing the county millage rate of 6.50 by one mill would bring an additional $5.5 million. But Commissioner Scott Metzger noted this is not the time, when so many businesses are closing and people are out of work due to COVID-19, to ask property owners to reach deeper into their pocketbooks.

“It doesn’t increase taxes,” Metzger said at Thursday’s meeting. “We are looking at this budget as cautiously optimistic.”

The expenses showing up in the overall budget include $9 million in bonds and $5 million in gas impact fees, or Act 13 funds, for funding projects. Johnston noted that the county has been very frugal through the years in its expenditure of Act 13 money.

In addition, the county will draw $5 million from its fund balance.

Read more in Friday’s Williamsport Sun-Gazette.

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